Daylet Domínguez is an Associate Professor of Caribbean and Latin American literatures and cultures in UC Berkeley’s Department of Spanish & Portuguese. Her new book, Ficciones etnográficas: literatura ciencias sociales y proyectos nacionales en el Caribe hispano del siglo XIX (Iberoamericana Vervuert, 2021), deals with the importance of literature for the constitution of the social sciences as a modern practice and discourse in the Hispanic Caribbean. She proposes that anthropology and its related subjects began to build a place of enunciation at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, in close relationship with travel literature, the “cuadro de costumbres,” and the novel. It is at the intersection with these literary genres that the emerging disciplines shaped a large part of their tropology and discursive genealogy; although, once institutionalized, they disavowed its epistemological validity. In the process of textual and institutional differentiation, the social sciences became one of the most effective ways to consolidate national projects, organize the transition to modern citizenships and undermine the postulates of racial and climatic degeneration associated with the region.
[translated from publisher’s site]